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Microsoft and OpenLearning bridge skills gap in APAC with Cloud micro-credentials
Published:  Sep 20, 2021 4:17 PM
Updated: 10:50 AM

Partnership between both companies will equip and create a knowledge workforce in Asia Pacific, enhancing employability and driving inclusive economic growth in the countries.

APAC, 20 September 2021 – OpenLearning and Microsoft have launched an industry-leading computer science micro-credential, CS101, that bridges the growing technology skills gap. CS101 will improve job prospects for young adults and working professionals from diverse backgrounds by providing them with the skills to leverage Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing solutions to create innovative products, solve complex problems and be more productive.

2020 saw an incredible number of businesses pivot to the cloud. With this, being equipped with a digital skillset is fast becoming the currency of our post-pandemic world. The partnership also marks an extension of Microsoft’s on-going effort to upskill talent across the globe, a commitment which has thus far supported the upskilling of nearly 6 million people in APAC alone. Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenLearning aims to create a more balanced and equitable tech environment that promotes gender diversity. Research has shown that gender diversity can make companies more innovative and agile and improve financial performance, particularly in technology industries where more women in the workforce and leadership teams results in better performance[1].

According to recent studies, findings have also revealed the demand for digital talent is growing faster than supply, leading to more vacant positions. For example, in Singapore, 5% of technology jobs were vacant in the first quarter of 2020, nearly double the vacancy rate of 2010 (2.7%). In Malaysia, it is estimated that 3 or 4 million workers will likely benefit from new jobs thanks to initiatives such as MyDigital blueprint[2].

Meanwhile, in a recent survey conducted across Southeast Asia, Singapore had the lowest share of women studying a major in technology. Yet, the country appears to have the highest share of women working in technology at 41%. It is likely driven by the booming tech sector, which is able to attract women from non-tech education backgrounds[3].

To pave the way for a more inclusive economy, CS101 and Microsoft will work together to arm learners with on-demand skills development through a range of integrated technologies that support and build necessary digital skills for the future. The programme seeks to inspire anyone, regardless of their background and gender, to be part of the evolving landscape of technology, and to reap the opportunities that are yet to come.

“A deep bench of technology partners that combine business and tech know-how will be essential for businesses looking to transform. A new generation of 21st-century infrastructure calls for digital, cloud and security skills and calls for a renewed commitment to the education and skills that a new generation of technology has made essential for people’s personal progress. More jobs require not wholesale retraining, but that people fill in specific gaps among their current skills. Employers and employees alike must increasingly identify and develop these skills and connect them with more dynamic and faster-moving hiring and promotion needs. That’s why we’re proud of our partner ecosystem, a key strategic asset that drives towards a shared goal of success, which is why for every dollar Microsoft earns, its partner ecosystem earns approximately $7. Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world, and our work with OpenLearning seeks to provide every person and every organization with an opportunity to thrive and seize the innovation opportunity that’s before us, ensuring technology shapes a more prosperous future.” – Vivek Puthucode, Chief Partner Officer, Microsoft in Asia Pacific

“We are thrilled to welcome Microsoft as an industry partner for CS101. We have worked closely with Microsoft for many years and their Azure cloud platform powers OpenLearning, supporting our 2.9 million learners worldwide. The future of work is on the cloud and working professionals in fields such as project management, operations and business analysis will need to develop computer science skills to get the most out of technology and increase their productivity.” – Adam Brimo, Founder and Group CEO, OpenLearning Limited

CS101, short for ‘Computer Science 101’, is designed for industry and by industry, under the guidance of OpenLearning Founder and CTO David Collien. It brings together leading technology companies, computer scientists and learning designers with the goal of enabling anyone to learn computer science. The program equips working professionals with core theoretical and practical skills so they are able to ‘learn how to learn’ and adapt to new programming languages and technologies to meet the evolving needs of society.

The program is delivered on OpenLearning’s lifelong learning platform and adopts a socially constructive approach to learning with activities and projects that are designed to foster a vibrant community of practice with support from facilitators and virtual small weekly consultation groups for learners to exchange ideas and solve problems together. Upon successful completion, learners will receive an OpenCred in the form of a digital credential that includes both a badge and a certificate that can be shared on social media.

CS101 comprises three online short courses, each of which can be completed in just 12 weeks part-time. The first course, CS101: Programming and Computational Thinking, has no prerequisites and starts on the 18th October 2021.

[1] Source: Boston Consulting Group, 2018

[2] Source: McKinsey & Company, 2021

[3] Source: Boston Consulting Group, 2020

This content is provided by Microsoft Malaysia.

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